Are you really interested in watching the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, featuring FIU and Temple? Yeah, didn’t think so.
Although I do like the name – which I discovered is a cool reference to a pirate that robbed his way around West Florida in the 18th and early 19th century. Jose Gaspar did that OG thing and gave himself a nickname; “Gasparilla”.
Since 1904, the city of Tampa has hosted the Gasparilla Pirate Festival where what you would expect to happen happens – crowds of people flow in, drink, watch a parade, drink, dress up as pirates, listen to music, drink, and play pirate games.
Aside from the pirate theme, the only other reason I can think of to settle in and watch this one is if you have a little action on it. That and you have Butch Davis on one sideline, making another comeback after a slide from the top.
Butch faces another first-year coach, Geoff Collins, who took over the Temple program this year. Collins had a tough start as the leader of the Owls’ program, but a QB change sparked the offense, pacing them to a 6-6 season, winning three of their last four and securing a bowl game (anyone remember when 6-6 meant the closest you got to a Bowl game was with a ticket and your coach was usually spending New Year’s day polishing up a resume).
Now…hello western Florida in mid-December.
This is the third consecutive season Temple have booked a bowl berth (they lost at the Boca Raton and Military Bowls the last two seasons).
Davis and the Panthers finished 8-4 and are one win away from breaking a school record for most wins in a season.
And I think they can get that win. I like FIU as a 7-point underdog in this matchup. I expect them to be able to move the ball vs. a Temple defense that’s been leaking talent for two years. While the Owls did turn their season around once the offense got sorted, this is still a team that doesn’t instill confidence, one either side of the ball.
This stat jumped out at me as well – FIU leads all of college football in red zone offense with 39 scores in 40 trips (Temple has scored 34 times in 42 red zone chances). I like having confidence in a team I’m backing that when they do get their shots, they’re not going to waste them. College ball can be particularly frustrating at the inconsistency the kids can demonstrate executing inside the 20.
And another favorable red zone stat – the FIU defense is good, having allowed 38 of 49 red zone scores (78 percent), while Temple’s defense has allowed 45 scores in 52 red zone chances (87 percent).
Like FIU as a possible straight up winner, but will take the points and play on Butch and co.
Pick: FIU +7
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